Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture

Leading Early American Scholarship Since 1943


Memorials: Pauline Maier

Pauline Maier served on the Council of the Omohundro Institute from 1981 to 1984.

Pauline Maier

Photograph courtesy of Andrea Maier

Remembering Pauline Maier

Pauline was 10 years ahead of me in graduate school. I didn’t get to know her until I was appointed to the Colonial Society’s Publications Committee, which she ably chaired for many years. Her sharp, critical intelligence and great hoot of a laugh made committee meetings something I looked forward to. At an annual Colonial Society dinner in the very staid Boston Athenaeum, some one proposed to introduce me to Pauline. I responded for reasons now hard to explain: “Oh, yes, Pauline and I have dated for many years, though it does bother my wife.” Pauline shot back: “You have a wife!” Last year, I sent her an outline of a book about Harvard’s President Lowell. As a critic, she had the ability to see what you were trying to do, and to help you improve the rigor and clarity of your analysis. Though I had left academic life many years ago, she gave my proposal the careful and critical attention for which she was well-known among her professional colleagues. I have no doubt that her distinguished record of publication would have been even longer if she had not given so generously of her time to family, friends, teaching, gardening and service to her profession, both at MIT and in the larger scholarly community. However, had she not been so generous with her time and attention, then she would not have been the Pauline Maier whose death has left an unfillable gap in the lives of many whose lives were enhanced by knowing her.

Christopher Jedry